could lay his hands on. There is extant a private account-book containing an inventory of the furniture and books belonging to Sir William More, of Loseley, in the last year of the reign of Queen Mary, some seven years before Shakespeare was born. This list has nothing to do with Shakespeare, but it serves to show what books were to be found in the library of a country gentleman of literary tastes and easy, though not ample, means. There is a selection of the Latin classics, including works by Ovid, Horace, Juvenal, Suetonius, Apuleius, and a volume of extracts from Terence. Cicero's Offices, and Thucydides, occur in the English translations of Whittington and Nicolls. In Italian there are Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavel, and the Book of the Courtier. Mediæval literature is represented by the Golden Legend, Vincentius Lirinensis, Albertus De Secretis, and Cato's Precepts; the Revival of Learning by More (the Utopia), Erasmus (the Adages and the Praise of Folly), and Marcellus Palingenius. There is a fair number of Chronicles, including Higden, Fabyan, Harding, and Froissart. The English list includes works by Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, John Heywood, Skelton, Alexander Barclay, and a liberal allowance of books of Songs, Proverbs, Fables, and Ballads. An English Bible, copies of the New Testament in Latin, French, and Italian, Elyot's Latin Dictionary, an Italian Dictionary, some books on law, physic, and land-surveying, "a book of the Turk," and "a treatise of the newe India," make up the list. Last, and never to be forgotten in estimating the poetic influences of the time, in the parlour there was a pair of virginals, a lute, and gittern. This is a richer collection of books than Shakespeare was likely to find in Stratford, and it

-64-

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Shakespeare
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chapter I - Shakespeare 1
  • Chapter II - Stratford and London 29
  • Chapter III - Books and Poetry 63
  • Chapter IV - The Theatre 95
  • Chapter V - Story and Character 128
  • Chapter VI - The Last Phase 209
  • Index 229
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